Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

The use of a synthetic or natural hormone to treat a hormone deficiency. Most commonly, HRT refers to the use of female hormones to relieve symptoms associated with the menopause, such as hot flushes and vaginal dryness. HRT also reduces the risk of the long-term effects associated with low oestrogen levels, such as osteoporosis. An oestrogen is usually taken in combination with a progestogen. The hormones may be taken orally or released into the bloodstream from a hormonal implant, skin patch, or gel. Minor adverse effects of HRT include nausea, breast tenderness, fluid retention, and leg cramps. In some women, oestrogen therapy may increase the risk of abnormal blood clotting. Women taking HRT in the long term are thought to be at a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, but are thought to be less likely to develop coronary artery disease.


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